According to UPS Compass, shipping directly from a retailer’s store allows for single-zone ground delivery, which puts the product in the customer’s hands quicker and reduces transportation cost. And while there is a feeling in the general public that malls kill small local businesses, Scaturro insisted that isn’t the case.
While most of the retailers at Queens Center Mall are permanent tenants with long-term leases, like Forever 21 and H&M, if there is a store that closes the mall can select from a group of temporary tenants. The temporary tenants are usually smaller, locally owned businesses, like Quails, with a month-to-month lease that takes up any empty storefront in the mall. When a new permanent tenant wants a space, the temporary tenant moves to another part of the mall.
“If there is an empty store, we can fill it with one of the temporary tenants and continue to collect rent,” he said. “People like going to a mall with stores open, they don’t want to go to a mall with 20 stores with barricades on them, so it keeps the mall alive.”
A trend that Scaturro has noticed is millennials shopping popular commercial avenues like Roosevelt, Myrtle and Jamaica. All of a sudden, stores typically found in the mall are starting to mix in with the mom-and-pop shops.
“It’s a good thing for mom-and-pops because the national retailers are what’s going to draw people to the strip,” Scaturro said. Social media can also help retailers increase foot traffic, but it depends on what the product is and who the consumers are. Still, almost every major retailer is experimenting with social media.”
Scaturro said the mall uses its social media accounts to bring light to community events, as well as sales that are happening in the mall. Scaturro’s responsibilities center on driving traffic to the mall, which he appears to be successful at: last year Queens Center Mall attracted 27 million shoppers.
“Although the face of retail is shifting, morphing and blending, it’s still basically the same concept,” Scaturro said.
Queens Center Mall is working with the Queens Chamber of Commerce to host “The Future of Retail at Queens Center” event on June 6. Two panels will discuss the future of retail as it undergoes an enormous transformation, specifically focusing on tenant and landlord issues.